The challenge of cultural relativism. James Rachels. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press () . What different positions have gone under the name of “cultural relativism”? What does Rachels think is the essence of the theory? Do you find the theory. James Rachels’ essay, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, is primarily a critique of cultural relativism and, in a way; the writer has put forward.

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Contact Contact Us Help. Cultural Relativism in Social and Political Philosophy categorize this paper. Seungbae Park – – Cultura 8 1: To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

From an anthropologist’s point of view, the most serious flaw in Rachel’s notion that cultural relativism presents a “challenge” to philosophy is that he simply hasn’t done his homework, and knows little about anthropology or its central purpose—to understand and learn about the variety of human cultures, past and present.

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Cultural Relativism in Social and Political Philosophy.

The challenge of cultural relativism

Email required Address never made public. It is the philosophers from our culture—people like Rachels—not the philosophers of other cultures—who assume the right to pass judgment on other cultures, hhe decide that some universal standard [End Page ] of morality, yet to be determined, is the real goal.

His main criticism of cultural relativism is simple: Sign in to use this feature. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

James Rachels: The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

What, exactly, was wrong with what James Rachels said about cultural rachelx Obviously, reason has always persuaded man to believe that telling the truth is always more beneficial for all societies, and necessary for communication. One cannot deny that Cultural Relativism, as a theory, has given us a lesson for tolerance. Eventually, the writer touched upon the most interesting challemge pragmatic aspect of the theory.


Oxford University Press This entry has no external links. Johnson An undergraduate anthropology student came to me with an assigned reading in a philosophy course at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

History of Western Philosophy. The student had learned, however, that the anthropologist is a participant and an observer at the same time, and that our task is to faithfully portray a culture. Secondly, the writer pointed out the different limitations of cultural relativism. As we discussed the position James Rachels took in the article assigned to the ethics class, it became clear that Rachels’ understanding of cultural relativism differed from that of most anthropologists: However, the tolerance that they teach different societies is of value.

For instance, the covering of breasts with a scarf is part of some cultures challeneg is not really important for other cultures. Cultural relativism is part of our training as social scientists as well as humanists—we participate and learn to understand and appreciate [End Page ] another culture, inevitably returning to our own culture to write and teach about what we have learned. Morality and Cultural Differences. Cultural Relativism cannot be a law particularly because of these values that are common everywhere and at all times.

What he was learning in his philosophy class challenged what he had learned about cultural relativism as a core concept in anthropology and he was surprised to find it examined negatively by a philosopher. Request removal from index.

It would tachels been helpful if another philosopher had presented an anthropologist’s view of cultural relativism, but fairness was not the textbook’s objective. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. However, several things soon became clear.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: There may be exceptions to these values and there may be variations in these exceptions relative to different societies but murder and telling a lie have always been prohibited.


Find it on Scholar. His essay does relaivism pretend to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject, nor does he indicate anything but a nodding acquaintance with what anthropologists have said about the subject. Interpretations of a Concept.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. A need for a standard, hence, is vital. There may be objective morality and the values of societies may be different from that objective morality and they may be in accordance with the objective morality. These problems ask for a moral standard of values through with progress can be measured and some abusive practices can be discouraged.

Questions about why certain customs continue to be practiced and transmitted to each generation, or even whether those customs fit into the fabric of the society are never discussed. You are commenting using your Facebook account. A Reinterpretation of Peter Winch. Defence of Cultural Relativism. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.

An undergraduate anthropology student came to me with an assigned reading in a philosophy course at the University of Relaivism, Stevens Point.

On The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

Tilley – – Ratio Juris 11 3: The Problem for Normative Cultural Relativism. Interpretations of a Concept Thomas H. Firstly, the argument against Cultural Relativism proposes that since different values prevail in rslativism societies there can be no objective standard.

As we can see, some cultures allow homosexuality and others strongly condemn it but many people who rellativism in such a theory have learned to live with it.

As a result, for Rachels, cultural relativism leads to moral relativism. Notify me of new comments via email.